At a Glance
West London Syngagogue – at a glance
We are a lively, active, inclusive community of progressive Jews. We welcome everyone, from everywhere around the globe, and we provide varied Shabbat and festival services, formal and informal alike, family services, tots’ services and many social activities. Many people who are seeking to become Jewish choose West London, and our services are easy to follow whatever your background. We are also deeply committed to social action, and run a drop-in for asylum seekers once a month and a night shelter for homeless people once a week, and are exploring more and more ways to work with others in our local community to provide help to the most needy. We work closely with local churches and other communal organisations, and rejoice in our interfaith activities, especially where we can work together on particular projects.
Our goal is to provide an exciting and spiritually nourishing Jewish life for everyone of all ages, from religious services to social action, from community activities to study and learning, from religion school to youth clubs and everything else besides. And we aim to include as many people as we can, young and old alike, in our volunteering within and beyond the community. At West London Synagogue, there really is something for everyone, and we want to inspire, welcome and serve all those who enter our doors.
Who will feel comfortable at WLS?
Our members reflect the diversity of central London, coming from all walks of life and many different religious backgrounds and ethnicities. We welcome Jewish singles and single parents, interfaith families, and Jewish families in all their diversity, including LGBT couples with or without children. Our programmes are designed to meet the diverse spiritual, religious, educational and social needs of our members. We want to celebrate the happy times with you and support you and your loved ones during difficult times, too.
How can I get involved?
There are many ways to become involved with our community and to become acquainted with other congregants. During your first months, we hope to get to know you so that we can introduce you to programmes, groups, volunteering opportunities and classes which complement your interests. We offer a warm and inviting atmosphere in which you can expand and explore your Jewish life. As you engage actively with your fellow congregants, you will not only grow your Jewish experience but you will also strengthen the synagogue community.
To learn more about membership and ways to get involved, contact our Membership Coordinator, Ronit Wang on 020 7535 0285.
We hope you will choose to become part of the present and future of our community.
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West London Synagogue cares for all its members. We have a dedicated Social Care Team, Jo Michaels and Tirza Waisel, who support members of the community in times of need.
All of us can benefit from confidential help, including bereavement support, cancer support, accessing benefits, contact when you are feeling lonely and isolated as well as directing members to appropriate resources.
We have trained more than 50 volunteers to visit members in their own homes, in residential care and in hospitals; specially trained volunteers also visit the bereaved. All of our volunteers have on-going training opportunities and supervision. A particular highlight is the monthly tea parties in members’ homes for older members to socialise. The Tuesday Lunch Club is going from strength to strength and new members are welcome to come on Tuesdays for coffee, activities, discussion and a three course lunch. Jo and Tirza work closely with the rabbis, so we continue to act together in the best interests of the community.
We do want to know about illness, bereavement and need, and all information is held confidentially.
Caring for a loved one who is unwell can be overwhelming. Our Carers Support Group allows members to feel less isolated and to share knowledge and information.
The Social Care Team:
The West London Synagogue Chevra Kaddisha
When a death has actually occurred, the first step in arranging the funeral is to contact the West London Synagogue. The Ritual Service Co-ordinator (sometimes known as the Sexton in other organisations) is there to provide whatever practical assistance and support you need in making the funeral arrangements. Please feel free to ask for help or advice. Although we are principally a Burial Society (chevra kaddisha) for our Members, we do also arrange funerals for others of the Jewish faith, in particular those who wish to be buried in one of our Cemeteries.
For more information contact: Micky Nathanson, Ritual Services Co-ordinator, on 020 7535 0284.
WLS welcomes anyone considering converting to Judaism. As with other Reform Synagogues in the UK, the process of conversion is in accordance with the procedure of the Beit Din (Rabbinic Court) for the Movement for Reform Judaism. It involves developing knowledge, experiencing Jewish life and showing commitment to the Jewish community. This can take approximately 16-18 months and involves regular attendance at synagogue services, participating in our year-long Jewish Preparation (JPREP) course (including studying Jewish knowledge and Hebrew), meeting regularly with the Rabbis before a visit to the Beit Din and Mikveh (immersion in ritual bath) which leads to Jewish status. Men are also asked to provide written proof that they have undergone circumcision. A conversion with the Movement for Reform Judaism is accepted by non-orthodox communities around the world.
If you are interested in converting, please speak to Jane Gough on 020 7535 0291 to arrange a visit to WLS in order to experience some services. (We also encourage you to visit other communities: after all we shall expect to see you at services extremely often so you need to see where you most feel comfortable!).